Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer Treatments

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UT Southwestern Medical Center is in a league of its own in North Texas with the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. At the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer patients individualized treatment plans at a specialized center with access to the latest medications and treatments.

Our team of specialists is the most experienced in North Texas, and we offer treatments that target primary liver cancer and metastatic liver cancer in different ways.

Treatment for Primary Liver Cancer

Depending on the stage of the cancer and a patient’s overall age and health, primary liver cancer treatment options might include:

  • Liver transplantation: Patients with liver cancer are often candidates for liver transplant. Our liver transplant program believes in aggressive use of transplant as a curative treatment option for liver cancer, including selected patients with large tumors. Our program features an experienced, multidisciplinary team that produces patient outcomes that surpass national averages.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor: Surgery is an option for patients whose tumors are limited within the liver and the remainder of the liver is healthy enough to tolerate an operation. We are the only center in the region to offer minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgical removal of tumors. This approach allows people to recover faster and go home sooner after surgery, with less pain than traditional surgery.
  • Locoregional therapies: For some patients, we can deliver treatment directly to the cancer cells, such as by administering chemotherapy or radiation therapy directly to the liver via the arteries. This approach can effectively treat cancers with fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy: Radiation can safely shrink a tumor when surgery isn’t an option.
  • Systemic targeted therapy: Personalized medications can slow tumor growth when surgery isn’t an option.
  • Immunotherapy: This type of medication can boost a patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer. This therapy can effectively treat and shrink tumors of some patients with liver cancer, even when the cancer has invaded blood vessels or spread outside the liver.

Treatment of Liver Metastases

Treatment of liver metastases depends on where the primary cancer originated, the extent of the cancer’s spread to the liver, whether the cancer has spread to other organs besides the liver, and the patient’s overall condition.

A combination of therapies is possible, such as:

  • Surgery to remove as much cancer as possible while leaving healthy liver tissue intact
  • Chemotherapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning or shrink liver metastases before surgery
  • Transarterial chemoembolization to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly into the artery supplying the liver, using a special catheter
  • Radiofrequency ablation to deliver tumor-eliminating energy through a tiny probe that enters the skin to access the tumors, guided by advanced imaging
  • Stereotactic radiation to deliver large doses of radiation to the tumor using image-guidance technology

Liver cancer treatment at UT Southwestern focuses on eliminating the cancer and giving each patient the best quality of life after treatment. We offer access to the most innovative procedures, the latest drugs, and cutting-edge clinical trials to give patients the most options available anywhere.

Clinical Trials

As an academic medical center, UT Southwestern participates in clinical trials to improve treatment for patients with liver cancer. We’re involved in active trials for patients with localized and advanced hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma. Patients should speak with their doctors about clinical trial options.